The current world record for running the mile is three minutes and forty three seconds (Hicham El Guerrouj). What if I told you that I possess a single pill that would enable you to break this record no matter your age or medical condition? Would you say I was insane or question my truthfulness? The promise of Jesus was even more preposterous in John 14:12. He stated, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…” (ESV) This sounds like the kind of claim that would have been worthy death in the Fourteenth Century and cause for pastoral termination today. That is until we clearly understand what these “greater works” are.
Jesus is talking about the results of the message that occur after His death and resurrection. This was all part of God’s plan. Jesus was preparing the disciples for a worldwide movement. What the body of Christ can do together in unity is incomprehensible.
When we see a verse like this, it is our unfortunate tendency to soften it. Jesus must have meant that the first disciples would do greater things, right? For example, after Peter’s first sermon, 3,000 people got saved. That result was a greater work (numerically speaking). The Apostle Paul would take the Gospel throughout the entire Roman Empire. That progress was a greater work. We can think of many people throughout church history who have achieved great things for the cause of Christ. There is only one problem with thinking that Jesus is only talking about people with some kind of elite spiritual status: verse 12. “Whoever believes in Me…” Jesus simply states that every believer has this potential.
How are we to do greater works? That will be the focus of the next blog post in this series I have entitles, “Greater Works.” Hit the subscribe link on the sidebar and look for the next thought to come tomorrow.